Who's In It: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David Morse
The Basics: Cage is John Milton (Sorry that nobody around you gets why you're laughing now, English majors.), a sullen guy who has recently escaped Hell. And he's being chased by "The Accountant" (William Fichtner) who wants to bring him back there. He's also currently locked in mortal battle with a Satanic cult that not only killed his daughter but now has their devil-eyes fixed on his baby granddaughter, whom they hope to sacrifice at the full moon to unleash Hell on earth. Got all that? Fighting ensues. Extremely violent and cool fighting in 3D. There is also a lot of angry driving, as per the title, in vintage muscle cars, the only ones Hell People will be seen operating.
What's The Deal: If you're still lamenting the left turn into Stupidtown that Nicolas Cage's career has taken over the past ten years, then you're sort of missing the point. He's got his Oscar. He's made serious films since then. Did you see them? Stuff like Captain Corelli's Mandolin? Did you? Because they're rotten. Empty exercises in pleasing nobody. And movies like this are, I believe, his ongoing apology for being an accessory to dullness and how he follows his bliss. Not that this grindhouse satansploitation is always on point either, but it hits the sweet spots of Loony Tunes sex, violence, cars and exploding things more often than it misses. Your only disappointment will come from the sporadic lulls, the movie's inability to sustain its own commitment to insane action for its full running time.
A Short, Incomplete List of Visceral Pleasures: Rednecks with machetes, violent women, fire, 3D that hurls lots and lots of stuff at you, human femurs, devil-worshipping Winnebagos, minor characters wearing ludicrously distracting male wigs to pull your attention away from Cage's own personal ongoing hair saga, blood-licking, rape victim revenge, horny waitresses, crazy gun battles during--yet not interrupting--strenuous sex scenes, and Tom Atkins, that guy from Halloween III Season of The Witch. Okay, he's not a visceral pleasure, necessarily, but it's cool that he shows up.
Performances of Note: Not Cage, weirdly enough. He's just sort of the name with the gun. But Amber Heard is surprisingly gung-ho every time she's on screen, diving into the violence with more than enough swagger to make you think she really would stomp your face in a Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! way. And character actor William Fichtner steals every moment he's in, sniffing the air around him to gather evidence, dropping all the best lines of dialogue and ruining the days of every person whose path he crosses. Somebody make this guy more famous, please.
Weirdest Shout-Out to My Bloody Valentine 3D: Todd Farmer, who co-wrote this, appears here as a doomed naked guy having sex named Frank. Just like he did in My Bloody Valentine 3D, a film he also wrote. Two times is a joke. Three times (if it happens in some other movie down the road) will make it a fetish.